It is a fast going story, filled with vivid images. I am so glad there is another book to pick up right away to keep the story going. The reader is excellant.
I was amazed when listening to this book that it started off so slow! I listened for hours and NOTHING important had happened. I could not tell you the first thing about the story and what was going on. I guess it gets better, based on the other reviews, but I'll never know.
This book and its two sequels, A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, were simply the best audio books I have heard in three years as an Audible member. The writing is incredible, the characters real and well-realized, the narration brilliant. At over 36 hours a book unabridged, they were a feast for the ears and the imagination. It is not too much to say that George R.R. Martin could teach J.R.R. Tolkein a thing or two about epic fantasy.
The books are so good I went out and bought them in large-format paperback just to own them, because I wanted the author to have more of my money. I will listen to these again.
This is one of the best series of the genre. I have been in this world of kings, knights, treachery, intrigue and suspense for months! The person who said that Roy Dotrice's vocal stylings were hard to get used to must have been listening to something else. The man has to voice dozens of different people, and he does so in a way that makes each character instantly recognizable, and fits the books atmosphere perfectly. I find it difficult now to listen to anything without his reading. I'm not usually a fawner, but these books are what happens when you get an expert writer together with an expert reader. I can't say enough good things about the author, narrator and story. The only thing I'm bummed about is that the next book in the series wont be released until August. If you like the genre, you'll love these books, and the books lengths are well worth the points/money. This is truly what fantasy should be. (Start with A Game of Thrones, then A Clash of Kings, then A Storm of Swords, then eventually, when it comes out.....A Feast for Crows)
I really enjoyed this series. I have all three books and I just finished listening to the entire series for a third time as a refresher in anticipation of the fourth books release (November '05). It's mostly swords, with just enough sorcery to plant is squarely in the fantasy realm.
The settings and lives of the common folk are dark and squalid, which gives it a particularly historic and believable feeling, unlike so many fantasy novels that are apparently set in Southern California. Another aspect of uniqueness and believability is in the fact that, without giving too much away, so many of the main characters are killed off over the course of the series. The good guys don't always come out on top - and may not have been all that good to start with - and while some villains are truly evil, others just have motivations that are at odds with the protagonists. All of this lends to rich believable character development (while they live).
The narrator does a tremendous job of giving unique voices to individual characters. Several of the major characters have unique tonal qualities and speech patterns that allow the listener to readily distinguish one character from another just by the sound of their "voice". Most narrators attempt to do this, but this guy is good!.
I have been a fan of George R. R. Martin's "Song of ice and Fire" series since day one. I've read all three of the books so far and very much enjoyed this audio version. I will admit that when I saw the publisher had chosen Roy Dotrice at the narrator I wasn't all that thrilled, and the adio sample I heard did not change that opinion, but decided to give it a try. I have to say that Dotrice turned out to be a great narrator. He's not perfect, but he has a large cast of characters to deal with and does as best a job as possible with giving each charcter a voice and sound all their own -- even making members of the same family sound similar in their accents, and remembering them all! As I wait for Martin to get it together and release the next book in the series, I will enjoy listening to Dotrice's narration on books 2 and 3.
I have never penned a review before but now I must. Although the story line is thick with the names of people and places, give this series (Song of Ice and Fire) a chance. Together, the author and the narrator have created a wonderful, yet harsh, world that will take on life in your imagination. The narrator's acting is the best that I have heard on audible; he adds rich depth to the characters. I found myself jeering the villains and cheering the heroes! For me, this audio series (still uncomplete) is addictive escapism at its best. P.S. I am not related to, or employed by, George R.R. Martin. :)
I have just listened to all of the (currently) available books in the Song of Ice & Fire series, back to back. I thoroughly enjoyed the superbly crafted writing and the way that Roy Dotrice's reading brought the characters to life. His varied accents and voices for the different characters aided immeasurably in helping me keep everyone straight - this is not a story that you can listen to while you have your mind on something else. Expect an engrossing tale with lots of political machinations, stone castles and wooden ships, horses and knights, swords and crossbows, and, every now and then, a little bit of the supernatural (which somehow seems totally reasonable). It may take a few chapters to get your bearings, but stick with it for an hour or so, and you'll be hooked. This is a truly wonderful series of books, but one most definitely for adults - there are healthy doses of violence, profanity, and some sexuality, but somehow, everything seems to fit into the context of the story and nothing seems gratuitious. Enjoy!
I'll certainly avoid R.R. Martin
I purchased this book based on the amazing reviews. I felt it was important to warn other unsuspecting readers of the experience I had. I really wanted something to compare to Lord of The Rings but with its own unique flavor. The problem I had with Martin is that he placed perverted sexual scenes evenly throughout the book. It felt like he put them in just to make sure people would read it out of curiosity… not interest or enjoyment of the novel; but wondering what crazy upside down sexual scene would be next.
You have to be “mature” to enjoy this type of reading… if reading about a 14year old getting raped multiple times until she likes it, a 13year old going to a brothel, and incest… you’re officially mature enough for this book. (I don’t know if there’s more, as I could not finish this book) I wish I had been warned.
I’m writing this for anyone who may be considering this series so they can make their purchase with eyes wide open.
If you want an epic fantasy with new flavor and a solid story that does not require bizarre sexual scenes to hold your attention, I would highly recommend Brandon Sanderson’s “The Way of Kings”
I've read all the books in this series multiple times, so I figured the audiobooks would be a great way to get through my very long daily commute. They would've been, except the narrator pays no attention whatsoever to punctuation and makes no distinction between the narrative and dialogue. It was impossible to listen for more than a couple minutes at a time. I'd ask for a refund if I thought I'd get it. If you would enjoy thirty-three hours of this:
"His father peeled off his gloves and handed them to Jory Cassel the captain of his household guard he took hold of Ice with both hands and said in the name of Robert of the House Baratheon the First of his Name King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm by the word of Eddard of the House Stark Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North I do sentence you to die he lifted the great sword high above his head Bran's bastard brother Jon Snow moved closer keep the pony well in hand he whispered and don't look away Father will know if you do."
Then by all means, buy this audiobook. As for me, I hope in a few decades they'll have someone re-record these who knows what a comma is for, and how to modulate his voice for dialogue. Very disappointed.